Need to see more of 2011 Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals played their second game of the preseason last Friday against the Superbowl Champion Green Bay Packers.  The verdict is still out on whether the Cardinals will get back to their winning ways of ’08 and ’09, or if they are going to have another 5-11 season like last year.

A lot of the hope lies with new quarterback Kevin Kolb, who has been handed the reigns to lead the team.  Kolb ran 25 plays against the Packers, and was pulled with 4:54 left in the second quarter.  In two games, he is 10 of 18 for 148 yards, with one sack and no touchdowns.  This is far from what anyone would call stellar for a player who signed a five-year, $63.5 million contract.  Although what can you expect from someone who has only been with the organization less than a month.  The verdict is still out.

The offense came alive when Richard Bartel came into the game in the second half.  He was 13 of 19 for 169 yards with one touchdown.  He made one mistake late in the game that resulted in an interception in the Green Bay endzone.  Quarterback John Skelton played sparingly as Arizona Cardinals Tight End Rob Houslerhe suffered a sprained ankle during the game.  With TE Todd Heap healing an injury, rookie Rob Housler impressed with his receiving abilities.  He ended up with 5 catches for 68 yards.  The rest of the Cardinals receiving corpse is full of young talent, even with the loss of Steve Breaston.  Seventh round draft pick DeMarco Sampson had another good game with 3 recptions for 68 yards.  Second year player Andre Roberts had two catches for 31 yards, and is slated to start alongside Larry Fitzgerald.  Stephen Williams (2 receptions for 19 yards and a touchdown) and Isaiah Williams (2 receptions for 14 yards) are both fighting for a spot on the team.

Arizona Cardinals Runningback Alfonso SmithThe Cardinals running game took a big hit during the game as second round draft pick Ryan Williams went down after his first carry of the game to start the third quarter.  It was later discovered that he ruptured his right patellar tendon and will be out for the entire season.  This puts even more pressure on Beanie Wells to have a break-out season.  It also gives second year running back Alfonso Smith, who had 12 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown, a big opportunity to make the team.  The door opened earlier for Smith when the Cardinals did not re-sign Tim Hightower, and he left for the Washington Redskins.

Defensively the Cardinals still need to limit the passing efficiency of their opponents.  The Packers were 21 of 27 for 319 yards and three touchdowns.  The Cardinals did okay against the run, allowing 95 rushing yards, and did have four sacks in the game.  Rookie free agent DB Bryant Nnabuife led the team with five tackles.

The Cardinals lacked discipline in the game, and ended with 11 penalties for 60 yards.  The game ended with the Packers scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter and coming back from a 20-14 deficit to win 28-20.

The Cardinals play in their first preseason home game this Saturday, August 27 against the San Diego Chargers.  It would be nice to see the starters, especially Kevin Kolb, play a little more in this game.  It would also be nice to see him throw for a touchdown before the regular season begins.  It is still too early to tell how the Cardinals will fare during the regular season, but the data is mounting.

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~ by Troy Erickson on August 23, 2011.

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